BEAVER FALLS (KDKA) — The Appalachian Trail has something in common with Mount Everest.
Most of those who start the trip don’t finish; but a Beaver County couple is hoping to buck the trend.
“I think this is the kind of hill we’ll encounter in Georgia,” said Pastor Bruce Cote as he worked his way down a rugged trail in Brady’s Run Park, followed by his wife, Paula.
The Beaver County couple is gearing up to hike the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine.
“We’ll start on March 17, which most people know as St. Patrick’s Day,” says Rev. Cote. “But for me, it’s my dad’s birthday. He passed away in ’96. And we hope to finish in late September.”
It’s a journey of 2,181 miles.
They’re not just doing it for their health. The hike has already raised more than $50,000 in pledges for Urban Impact, a foundation on Pittsburgh’s North Side that benefits inner city youth.
“Where the schools are graduating only 60 percent of their kids, when they get involved with urban impact, that graduation rate goes up to 97 percent,” says Cote.
Donations collected by the hike will go toward finding college or meaningful employment for those graduates. But Cote knows the odds of finishing are not good.
“Seventy-five to 90 percent of hikers who begin this end up failing,” he said. “They don’t make it.”
He says passion for their cause will spur them on.
Paula, meanwhile, says they will each keep separate journals during their six-month Odyssey.
“We’re not going to share the journals on the trail,” she said. “We’re actually just going to journal every day, and at the end we’ll compare notes.”
They will also be blogging. You can follow their progress on www.brucetakesahike.com.